(Permission is granted to print and redistribute this material
as long as this header and the footer at the end are included.)


brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld

Ask A Question about the Daf

Previous daf

Sanhedrin, 109

SANHEDRIN 106-110 - Two weeks of study material have been dedicated by Mrs. Estanne Abraham Fawer to honor the third Yahrzeit of her father, Reb Mordechai ben Eliezer Zvi (Weiner), who passed away 18 Teves 5760. May the merit of supporting and advancing Talmud study serve as an Iluy for his Neshamah


QUESTION: The Gemara discusses the Mishnah's statement (107b) that the people of the Dor ha'Pelagah (the "generation of the dispersion," which built the tower of Bavel as described in Bereishis 11) have no portion in Olam ha'Ba, and it asks about what exactly their crime was. The Mefarshim point out that the Torah itself does not provide enough details in the Torah to understand their sin, as it does with regard to the sin of the Dor ha'Mabul.

Why, though, does the Torah not explain what their sin was?


(a) The BE'ER SHEVA explains that the Torah only elaborates about a sin that was committed in order for other people to take heed and not to sin in a similar manner. Accordingly, the Torah describes the primary sin of the Dor ha'Mabul -- thievery -- in order to create a deterrent for that form of behavior. However, the sin of the Dor ha'Pelagah was unique in that it resulted from the entire world being unified, acting together. Such a universal cohesiveness will never again occur on such a large scale, and thus no one will ever come to commit that sin again. Therefore, there is no point in elaborating the sin of the Dor ha'Pelagah.

(b) Alternatively, the Be'er Sheva answers that the Torah does not describe their sin because they spoke in an extremely disrespectful manner towards Hashem. It would be a Chilul Hashem to relate what they said.

The CHIDUSHEI HA'RADAL in his commentary to the Midrash (Bereishis Rabah 38:11) also gives this explanation. He adds that, according to another explanation of the Midrash, the reason their specific sin was not recorded was because they were at peace with each other, and in that merit Hashem covered up their terrible sin.

(c) The MAHARSHA's explanation of their sin gives us another insight into this question. The Maharsha explains that the people of that generation also wanted to rebel against Hashem, but they were frightened of the possibility of another flood. They obviously did not believe Hashem's promise that He would never again bring such a flood. Therefore, they conspired to build a towering structure that would enable them to reach the heavens and empty the sky of its water (see Maharsha at length).

According to the Maharsha, we may answer that the reason why the Torah does not describe their sin is because it is merely a continuation of the sin of the previous generation (the Dor ha'Mabul). (Y. Montrose)


QUESTION: The Gemara states that there were four judges in Sedom: Shakra'i, Shakrura'i, Zayafei, and Matzlei Dina.

Why is it important that there were four judges, and why do we have to know their names?


(a) The MAHARSHA explains that these four judges represent the four examples of "Sedom justice" that the Gemara describes immediately afterwards. The name of the first judge, Shakra'i (which comes from the word "Sheker," or "lie," which refers to a perversion of justice) represents the judgement in the case of the person who hit his neighbor's pregnant wife, causing her to miscarry. When the judges accept the perpetrator's claim that he should not have to pay for the loss of the fetus since he can replace what he damaged by impregnating the woman, that is an injustice.

The Maharsha asserts that the name of the second judge, Shakrura'i, should actually read "Sheker Vadai" -- meaning absolute injustice. This represents the judgement in the case of a person who hit his neighbor's donkey, causing it to lose an ear. The judges would tell the victim to keep the ear until it grows back. This is absolutely unjust, because the ear of an animal cannot grow back.

The name of the third judge, Zayafei, represents the way the judges of Sedom would rule in a case in which a person hit another person, wounding him and causing him to bleed. The judges would rule that the *victim* must pay the perpetrator for causing him to bleed, because he perpetrator performed the service of bloodletting for him! This is falsified logic ("Ziyuf," or "forgery"), because the victim did not need bloodletting at the time he was wounded.

The name of the fourth judge, Matzlei Dina, corresponds to the judgement in the fourth case that the Gemara mentions. The judges of Sedom instituted a higher fee for one who crosses the river by foot than for one who crosses the river by bridge. This was a corruption of justice done for personal benefit ("Matzlei Dina," or a "bending of the law" for one's own benefit) done simply to raise revenue, fraudulently, for the city.

(b) The BEN YEHOYADA explains that these four names are the names of courts, not judges. This is why these names are in the plural form. He explains that the system of justice of the Arab rulers in his day was similar. They had four levels of courts, and each case that came before the lower courts was reviewed by the higher courts, until the case was reviewed by the highest court, which was the supreme authority. The Gemara is telling us the names of these four levels of courts in Sedom.

(c) The MARGOLIYOS HA'YAM quotes the SEFER HA'MISILOS whose Girsa of the four judges is Shakra'i, *Sha'arura'i*, *Gayafei*, and Matzlei Dina. He explains that the words of our Gemara are based on a verse in Yirmeyahu (23:14). The verse compares the evildoers of the Jewish people with those of the city of Sedom, and it lists four evil traits: Sha'arurah (disgracefulness), Na'of (adultery), Haloch ba'Sheker (constantly going in falsehood), and Chizku Yedei Merei'im (strengthening the hands of evildoers).

The Gemara here is listing the four judges who exemplified these evil traits in Sedom. The case of the man who caused the loss of a woman's fetus, who does not need to pay for the loss because he can return a fetus to her by impregnating her, refers to the trait of Na'of, adultery. The name of this judge (according to his Girsa) is Gayafei, which means "adulterer" in Aramaic (see, for example, Targum Onkelos to Vayikra 20:10, and Shabbos 104a).

The case of the ear that was cut off of the donkey represents a ruling of falsehood, "Shakra'i," as explained above. Making the victim pay the person who harmed him for his wound is a case of giving strength to the "hand of evildoers," represented by "Matzlei Dina" and which corresponds to "Chizku Yedei Merei'im." Making the people pay extra money for not using the bridge is a disgraceful act of brazenness, represented by the judge "Sha'arura'i," and corresponding to the trait of "Sha'arurah." (Y. Montrose)

Next daf


For further information on
subscriptions, archives and sponsorships,
contact Kollel Iyun Hadaf,